Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mad-town: Part 1

The refrigerator of the condo where we are staying the weekend.

My daughter's closet.

The "promenade" - the name given to the back deck by Izzy and her roomies. It looks like an al fresco version of an AA meeting to me.

The Living Room.

Ay-yi-yi. A Jim Morrison flag decorates the wall. Beer cans decorate the front railing. Izzy's shoes sleep huddle in a pile like a new batch of puppies, the back deck looks like it is set up for a therapy group - the talking stick is probably a bong. Where am I?

If you guessed my daughter's college house in Madison, Wisconsin - where she lives with 7 other women, you are right. We arrived yesterday after a harrowing drive on 94 West - the trucking hell of a highway. 5 hours - 3 of them white-knuckling our way along the asphalt ribbon with semis swaying across the center line with the gusts of wind.

I remember why I never visited my daughter once in college. I dropped her here in August of 2007 during a time of my life when I was having some kind of breakdown - insomnia, anxiety, generally falling apart - like a tsunami of hormones had kidnapped Alecia. The experience was so grim (including a storm - with tornado - that prevented me from seeing even the front of my own car, let alone the semis that had me blocked in on all sides, some of them tumbling into the ditch.) I vowed never, ever to return until the day she graduated and I have kept my word. The whole experience left a very sour taste like post traumatic stress and I simply wasn't mature enough to overcome it. To be fair...Lee lived and worked in NY during this time and she was in Madrid for a year.(We DID visit her in Madrid!)

I adore Isabelle, so I would send her a ticket to come to NY to visit, or a ticket to come home, but I couldn't find either the time or the courage to return to I-94 heading east. Now, I have returned and it is 50 and cloudy and windy and it is May 14. (Of course, it is 45 in Minneapolis today. God help us.)

We are here to celebrate Izzy's graduation from UW Madison - here with uncles extraordinaire Kelly and Tom. I bought Alexander a ticket to fly in from Houston and his flights have been cancelled - twice now. He is not coming. Lee is here with me. In the 18 hours that I have been here I have learned FOUR things about Madison:

1. They drink a lot here. I really mean A LOT.

2. They speak a strange language. "Beer-ese" - saying things like "hoppy" and IPA or APA. I have no idea what these terms mean.

3 Madison is into food.

4. People here have an accent that is even funnier than in Minnesota.

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